Himself as child, Everett, WA
A Purist's Road

A brief history of Brian Schindele (aka my not so brilliant career)

             I suppose my earliest musical memories were of Von Suppé, Rossini overtures, Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas (which remain a guilty pleasure to this day) and other light classics (though I'm told that as a very young child, I would cry until someone would play Tony Bennett singing "My Bambino" which if true would go a long way toward explaining my weakness for sentimental hack pop). There was usually music around the house, but it wasn't anything that was forced on us. I also remember church hymns standing next to my mom, who most often sang a harmony line rather than the melody. My sister played a little violin and piano and sang so I got early exposure to show tunes and folk music. When I got my own radio I started listening to pop music, the usual top forty fare, although I gravitated toward soul music even before I knew what it was. My brother brought home three lps within a very short time frame: The Grateful Dead's first album, Jimi Hendrix's "Are You Experienced?" and the Mothers of Invention's "Freak Out" and this changed my perception of what music was all about in a profound way. The family moved from a suburb of Seattle to a suburb of San Francisco before my freshman year of high school. It may be overstating the obvious, but things were sure different in California.

             I had played a little bit of piano as a kid, took some lessons from a blind woman who lived down the street, then deviated to trombone and then the drum set. I fell in love with Jazz listening to Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" and Dave Brubeck's "Time Out" as a high school kid. Indeed, I think I wore out the copy of "Blue Rondo A La Turk" on the local Pizza joint's juke. Toward the end of high school I was back to playing piano, studying at the local conservatory and noodling on the ubiquitous Fender Rhodes at home. I was on the road to degradation: Fusion Music.

         The Mahavishnu Orchestra blew me away with their complex meters and flashy pyrotechnics. Some where along this time KJAZ used to use a bit of Weather Report's "I Sing The Body Electric" on one of their promos. I had to find out what the hell that music was. When I found out it was Weather Report, I high-tailed it down to a Record Shop in San Mateo. I was all set to buy just "I Sing The Body Electric" but the whole time I was in the store a bouncy, funky tune was blaring over the speakers, with a melody line that kept going on and on. I asked the clerk what the hell I was listening to. He pointed to the album "Sweetnighter". So I had been enthralled by "Boogie Woogie Waltz" by Weather Report.

So who is this Joe Zawinul? "Mercy, Mercy Mercy" was lodged in my brain, but only as another instrumental 60's pop tune. But I spent a lot of time listening to him and through him Cannonball and Shorter back to Miles. Then I started going further back. At this time I was playing fusion in the band Bozon and going to State College, which mainly consisted of cutting classes and goofing around on one of the early Buchla synths. I was also exposed to various kinds of world music as well as modern and contemporary classical repertoire, everything from Stravinsky to Stockhausen, from Bartók to Berio and yes, the dreaded twelve tone row. I have to laugh at it now, but one was continually berated in composition classes if one's pieces had the slightest hint of classical tonality. These were modern times, well post modern really; post hippie, post riots and post war. After College I drifted into the San Francisco punk rock scene, playing Rhodes and Mini Moog in various bands, among them Farmers and The cübists. I wanted to play something that was less sterile than the fusion I had been so diligently wanking away on, and I wanted to play music that connected with people on something other than in an arch intellectual fashion. I wanted to have fun.

Next up was a period of free music in the band "Brickmen". After this I started playing straight ahead jazz, albeit somewhat clumsy standards, but jazz nonetheless. I played for several years in various bay area clubs, among them "The Ramp" and "Rassalas" with "The Menno Maringa Quartet/Quintet". We played Standards and some of my originals and arrangements. Around this time I substituted for a couple of gigs with a Ska band "Undercover S.K.A" that turned into a few years of recording, touring and gigging.

I haven't played Ska or Reggae in a number of years, though if you were to enter my name into a search engine, Ska might be what you would get. I'm not ashamed of it, I had a lot of fun and had a shot at the small time.

These days I'm concentrating on the piano and standards. I listen to jazz and classical music almost exclusively (though I can still appreciate a good C and W tune), and prefer playing a real piano to anything electric. It's funny, playing piano is not only coming full circle, it's made me realize why I started playing music in the first place. A while back someone called me a purist. I had to laugh. The Dead were right. It has been a long strange trip.

             Bands (not including one gig pickup bands or sub gigs, these are too numerous to count, but this is a partial listing of bands that lasted for at least a few months and recorded some):
  • Batterywealth: College Art/Fusion Band, wordless singer, cello, guitar, bass, keyboard and drums. Noteworthy: playing the same song over and over again
  • Triode: College Electronic Music ensemble, noise and filter sweeps featuring Arp2600 and the mighty Kincaid Synth
  • Bozon: Fusion/instrumental/Art Rock - Compulsive/Obsessive behavior in music.
  • Farmers: Punk/Fusion/Country/Jazz - Sound like a mess? It was! One EP and one Cassette Tape
  • Cübists: Bad Pop/Bad Country Pop - Two CD's
  • SikKlick: Multimedia music with Trina and Rad, two very fascinating people who are sadly no longer with us
  • The Brickmen: Improvisational mess most of the time, beautiful music some of the time.
  • Blue Nemo: I lied, a one gig wonder
  • Menno Marringa Quartet/Quintet: Jazz Band - Many gigs, no real product ever recorded
  • Undercover S.K.A.: Too many gigs, Three CD's, one Video
  • Zooma Zooma: Louis Prima Tribute Band led by the amazing Vice Grip
  • Brian Schindele Trio: Piano Jazz and Standards
In addition, I would like to thank the following Musicians (in no particular order):
  • Tim Vaughan
  • Menno Marringa
  • Warren Alred
  • Chuck Masten
  • Jeff Hirano
  • Michael Graziano
  • Larry Castle
  • Jeff Potter
  • Vudi
  • Bruce Kaphan
  • Mike Helland
  • Bob Glynn
  • Pat Smith
  • Skooter Fein
  • Drew Anderson
  • Everybody else

Take me home

Fine Print dept: the cübists, and all graphics and sounds on this site © 2002, Brian Schindele/Fishtank Productions. All Rights Reserved.